Medical Vibrators for Treatment of Female Hysteria
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During the late 1800s through the early 1900s, physicians administered pelvic massages involving clitoral stimulation by early electronic vibrators as treatments for what was called female hysteria. Until the early 1900s, physicians used female hysteria as a diagnosis for women who reported a wide range of complaints and symptoms unexplainable by any other diagnosis at the time. According to historian Rachel Maines, physicians provided pelvic massages for thousands of years to female patients without it being considered erotic or sexually stimulating. After the Western Industrial Revolution, physicians began using electric machines in medicine, including the medical vibrator, which researchers theorize was used to more efficiently bring women to a hysterical paroxysm, the former medical term for a female orgasm. Until the 1920s, physicians used vibrating massagers as medical devices for treating hysteria at a time when doctors diagnosed women with hysteria as a sweeping diagnosis.